No doubt you've been to Carnaby Street or Oxford Street at Christmas time, but there's a new London area in the running. Leicester Square is rolling up its sleeves, and getting ready to show the world it means business at Christmas. As a born and bred Londonder, I'm no stranger to the area. I've attended a premier there ---> Me and Ryan Gosling, I've worked backstage at the Leicester Square Theatre (even meeting Kylie and Will Young there!) and of course it's right near China Town and Covent Garden. However, it isn't generally on my go-to list, despite being about 20 mins on the tube from me. Time to see what I'm missing out on!?
I was invited to explore Leicester Square with Heart of London Business Alliance, to see what is happening there for the festive season.
We started somewhere else I'd been before - The Criterion Theatre. 7 years ago I helped with a vintage party at the 39 Steps, so it was wonderful to get the chance to actually stand on the stage this time! Next on our whistle-stop tour was a place I hadn't actually visited before; M&M world. I have to say, the smell hits you when you walk in. It almost throttles you its so strong. I'm guessing its a bit like marmite, you either love it and salivate at the mere whiff of chocolate or you just don't. Rather excitingly, they've got a new machine that prints your own face onto your M&Ms which I almost got to do, but we ran out of time. Booooo. But definitelty a really quirky gift idea worth exploring. Can you imagine the joy of giving something the gift of M&Ms with your own cheeky face on?
It got a bit boozey from here, hitting the Japan Centre for sake sampling, and a hot toddy at the Hampshire Hotel. I hadn't realised that Leicester Square hosted a Christmas market, but they do, and it perfectly quaint. Stalls of gifts, bars with mulled wine, santa's grotto and a cabaret tent. Who knew!?
I hate to seem un-festive, but my favourite thing of all was the booth vinyl at the W hotel bar. I mean, look at this print. It was exclusively designed for the W by Frith Street Tattoo, which is a Soho tattoo shop who have tattooed me many times. LOVE. May have to return just to experience the booth all over again.
I was lucky enough to win the raffle too, so watch this space for my visit to the Steakhouse at the Hippodrome (I've already checked and yes they have vegetarian options!). Perhaps a trip to get my face on an M&M, followed by a drink at the W hotel, ending with a swanky dinner at the casino. I'm already looking forward to it!